The Top Six Reasons To Live On A Boat In Puget Sound

You know how life just changes right in front of you? Sometimes you just stand there and go, “Well! So much for THAT plan.” We were in that place. We sold our money pit of a house, moved closer to parents to help them and rented. Six months later, parents did not need our help as before, so we could live anywhere! 

We have many dear friends that live on boats and we have talked for a few years about joining them. Now was the perfect time! We bought a great boat, moved aboard and have never looked back. Here are some of our top reasons for living on a boat.

Our Dance boat in Bell Harbor Washington

6. Decrease Monthly Expenses

The thought of living a lifestyle that we crave while decreasing our regular daily expenses seems like a dream, right? We found out that it can be done! Monthly moorage is less expensive than renting a land-based home (or a mortgage). Our heating bill is much lower, as is electricity and natural gas (now propane). Even our garbage and water bills are included in our moorage. We have found that we eat out less because we already have THE BEST waterfront view while dining!

Sunrise in San Juans, Washington

5. Embracing Minimalism and Helping Our Planet

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life,” says Marie Kondo, organizing consultant and author of “Spark Joy.”

Minimalism is the rage right now. Less stuff = a better life. We could not agree more! It is absolutely astonishing what we actually do not need in our lives. Getting rid of extra “stuff” can bring tremendous peace. The freedom I felt while purging to get ready to move on a boat was immeasurable! (Even if you do not plan to move onto a boat, I highly recommend purging unneeded stuff from your life. You can thank me later!)

Minimalism goes hand and hand with helping to leave less of a “footprint” on our beautiful planet. Using less water, less fuel, less power, and buying less stuff that eventually ends up in a landfill is an impactful and simple way to help the environment and our little corner of the world.

seal and pups in Washington

4. The Wildlife

Your windows become your own National Geographic WILD channel!!! Every day you get to see the amazing life that lives in Puget Sound. All kinds of ducks, birds, eagles, seals and pups, otters, sea lions, and on extra special days, porpoises and occasionally even a humpback, gray, minke or a pod of orca whales!!!

We saw this seal and pup while kayaking by the San Juan Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Blake Island Marina in Washington

3. Meeting Really Cool People

We grew up knowing everyone on our street, but we had not experienced that in years. Moving onto a boat introduces you to like-minded people and to an amazing community! We have found the community friendly, willing to help at a moment’s notice like catching lines as you dock on a very windy day, loaning tools, helping troubleshoot system problems and sharing knowledge from experience.

Planned and unplanned dock parties are the norm, sometimes with live music! Potluck dinners with way too many people smashed into a boat are some of my favorite memories in the marina. (We look forward to post COVID-19 so we can get back to this part of our life!)

Lisa Mize boat yoga in Washington

2. Learning New Things…Constantly

There is no shortage for learning when owning and living on a boat. There are so many systems! Septic systems, electrical, battery, structural, engines, generators and if a sailboat, all the rigging and sails. (Do you know that there are HOLES in your boat! UNDER the waterline! Talk about learning!) Remember the really cool people from number three? They are invaluable as is YouTube! As my husband says, “You should always keep learning until the day you die.” Boat life gives you ample opportunities to learn and stretch your mind. “WOW! I did that,” will start flowing from your mouth. Doing new things that you can be proud of is limitless! Learning to drive, dock, undock, and sail are more skills to learn. We highly recommend taking some good classes and learn about safety while aboard.

Sydney Islands Gulf Island Washington


Our number one, hands down, best reason to live on a boat is the adventures! You get to go to extraordinary places, some only accessible by boat. There are many Washington State Parks that are available all over the Puget Sound, including the world-renowned San Juan Islands. (Hint: Buy a yearly park pass. They pay for themselves after seven nights!) We found that visiting little towns that we normally would not drive to is a blast! Finding interesting small-town shops, specialty local food shops, tasty restaurants, new artists, comfortable “local” bars, live music, breweries, wineries and distilleries make for fascinating adventures. Be sure to ask a local for what you are looking for. They usually let you in on local secrets and most often, those are NOT in the travel brochures! We have adopted this method as we travel, and some of our best experiences have been because of asking a local a simple question. 

The Puget Sound and the Salish Sea have countless miles to explore. There are adorable anchorages in hidden coves, energized marinas and everything in between. The biggest question you will face is “What type of adventure am I looking for this weekend?” Do you want to try out a new brewery or do you just need some peace and tranquility and maybe a killer sunset? Maybe you are craving a lovely bay to drop in your stand-up paddleboard or kayak to get in some paddle time! 

Each morning, we are greeted by the Olympic Mountains. We watch breathtaking sunsets when the weather and skies gift us one. We hear the calls of the seagulls and ducks on the breakwater and watch them float down the fairway. We greet our neighbors as we pass on the docks. Next weekend’s plans are being made… yeah, best decision ever!

Lisa Mize

Lisa Mize, photographer, is a born and raised Washingtonian. While living on Puget Sound on her boat, M/V Our Dance, she also seeks out places to go backpacking, kayaking, biking or anything outdoors. Lisa is always up for a new, worldwide adventure accompanied by her husband and endearing partner! Socials: IG: @lisamizelandscapephotography FB: Lisa Mize Photography


  1. DT on April 2, 2021 at 11:31 am

    I went to High School with Lisa in which we both went to Shorecrest High School in Shoreline.

  2. Ed Johnson on April 2, 2021 at 11:45 am

    Well written and great photos. Thanks, Lisa.

    • Lisa Mize on April 2, 2021 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you, Ed! I always appreciate your support and encouragement!

  3. M/V Navigator #helmsman38 on April 3, 2021 at 7:55 am

    Keep up the writing ✍️ it’s Inspirational

    • Lisa Mize on April 4, 2021 at 11:28 am

      Thank you so much for that! I will definitely keep it up! 🙂

  4. 89 Tolly 34 on April 3, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    Hi Lisa. Really liked your posting. My wife and I have been discussing the benefits and challenges with living on a board recently. We have many friends doing that. It might be in our future.

  5. Lisa M Mize on April 4, 2021 at 11:47 am

    Thank you so very much!
    My encouragement would be, “Just do it!” 😉 We have zero regrets!
    Be sure to get on some marina wait lists, NOW as they are getting harder and harder to get into. It can take a year to a few years to get to the top of the list!
    Hope you are enjoying your Tolly! We were looking into those before we found our Uniflite!
    Thanks again for responding!

  6. Terry Wadkins on April 7, 2021 at 2:26 pm

    Great article Lisa! Now the secret’s out. The closeness to nature, the simplicity, cost efficiencies and accompanying freedom from debt are all blessings more people could enjoy. Thanks for being the best boat neighbor ever by the way.
    Amazing photos!

  7. Lisa Mize on April 9, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    Thank you, Terry! I do hope they, as in all marinas, open up more slips for live aboards. The demand is quite high, as you know. I so agree! The FREEDOMS!
    Thank you! We will miss you! 🙂

  8. Alicia Jamieson on June 13, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    Hmm… why write an article to encourage people to live on boats when there are so few, if any, live-aboard slips available? Especially in the Seattle area. Aren’t there super long waiting lists?

    • Lisa Mize on July 18, 2021 at 7:12 pm

      Hi, Alicia!
      You are correct, right now in the Seattle area, the waitlists are long, but if you extend your search, many other areas, including lakes, there can be spots available. Washington is a large state! Many people choose to just anchor out with no fees and dinghy in. There are many options for this type of live aboard. Another option is for temporary slips. Be on the lookout for folks heading out on month or many months cruises who want to sun lease their slips. Flexibility is a great asset for living aboard while you are waiting on a permanent slip!

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